Hurricane Ian Update: 2.5 Million+ Without Power Across Florida

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images)

Hurricane Ian has now been downgraded to a tropical storm. However, the damage is far from over for millions of Florida residents as more than 2.5 million people have been without power throughout the state. The storm, which made landfall mid-day Wednesday, September 28, brought massive flooding as well as winds that came just short of making Ian a category 5 hurricane. This led to incredible damage across the state causing chaos on many of Florida’s power grids.

Over 2.5 Million Florida Residents Are Still Without Power As Hurricane Ian Weakens Into A Tropical Storm

The eye of Hurricane Ian moved into the Florida coast near the Captive islands by midday on Wednesday. Not long after making landfall, Hurricane Ian began leaving massive damage in its wake that led to nearly 700.000 customers without power by just 2:30 p.m. eastern standard time. The reports on note that the outages hit over one million throughout the sunshine state only a few hours later.

By nightfall, however, these numbers practically doubled, as Ian’s massive winds left more than 2 million Florida residents in the dark. And by 5 a.m. on Thursday, September 29 the total number of residents without power surpassed 2 and a half million.

Residents in Southwest Florida Are Facing The Most Outages As Ian’s Status Drops To Tropical Storm

Areas in the southwest region of Florida are bearing the brunt of these outages. Some counties remain wholly without electricity as of Thursday morning. Some of these areas include Hardee county, DeSoto, Charlotte, and Lee. Areas in the neighboring counties such as Manatee, Sarasota, Collier, Highlands, and Glades are seeing at least half the residents still without any power.

The National Weather Service warned before Ian’s arrival that the hurricane could cause “catastrophic” wind damage in parts of the state. Officials warned that Ian could take at least 24 hours to clear the area after the storm’s eye made landfall.

“This is going to be a storm that we talk about for many years to come,” notes National Weather Service Director Ken Graham.

Florida Power & Light Urges Residents To “Not Let Your Guard Down”

The Florida Power & Light Twitter page sent a message to customers via the social media app that “widespread” outages are expected for an extended amount of time. Of the company’s nearly 6 million customers, more than 1 million have reported outages.

“We urge you to not let your guard down,” the Wednesday tweet notes.

“regardless of where you live,” the message adds. “We are expecting widespread, extended outages from Hurricane Ian across much of our service area. Please be prepared and stay safe.”

According to officials, there were more than 30,000 professional linemen “staged and ready” to get to work on these issues as soon as it is safe. However, Flordia’s Governor Ron DeSantis notes that this number has increased already to 42,000.